Hymn #347: Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

Frederik Herman Kaan (1929-2009) wrote this text in 1975 to fit this music.  Doreen Potter had heard this Jamaican folk melody and envisioned the possibility of using it as a hymn tune.  The combination was first sung together at the World Council of Churches Assembly in Nairobi, Africa, in 1975.


Fred Kaan was born in Haarlem, Holland, on July 27, 1929, and endured as a youth the Nazi occupation of his native country.  His father was a member of the Dutch Resistance; his family hid a Jew and a political prisoner in their home; and three of his grandparents starved to death during this time.

Doreen Poter adapted this Jamaican folk song, now called LINSTEAD.  Singers should remember that the refrain is repeated after each verse, the first time being sung softly and the second time loudly.  The tune uses syncopation by altering quarter and eighth notes and moves at a brisk tempo.


The music of the Caribbean islands is not often associated with hymn tunes.  Yet the religious heritage of these islands is rich, having been influenced by the Europeans of various nations who claimed these islands and settled them and by individuals who worked there as slaves.